Eight-Panel Metal Mural Needs a New Home
By Andrea Valencia, for Mission Loc@l
CELLspace moved from itsÂ warehouse on Bryant Street in 2012 leaving behind a mural like no other in the Mission: a large metal structureÂ that spans elegantly across the buildingâ€™s front windows. It now needs to find a new owner.
Some half-dozen local artists carefully planned and built the copper and steel mural in 2008.
â€œThere was an old faÃ§ade here, and we wanted it to be different and nicer â€“unified,â€ said Jane Verma, one of the artists who added the spiky steel, grass-like element to the mural that was built in the warehouse space.
â€œThere used to be ugly and unwelcoming screens here,â€ said Russell Howze, an artist and CELLspace volunteer for many years who organized the first art show meant to be displayed with the mural.
When theÂ volunteer-run art collective CELLspace left the building almost three years ago, Â Inner Mission took up its legacy, butÂ it is nowÂ being pushed out by the new development coming to the block bordered byÂ Bryant and FloridaÂ betweenÂ 18th and 19th Streets.
With the inevitable new development, the metal mural will have to be relocated by May.
Howze, the author of Stencil Nation, has been rescuingÂ the murals left behind inÂ Cellspace that wereÂ still in good shape. Â With the help of Annice Jacoby, the editor of Street Art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo, Â he has managed to find buyers for some of them.
As for the metal mural, Verma is firm about wantingÂ to â€œkeep it in San Francisco. Weâ€™d like it to continue to be seen by the public, not on someoneâ€™s yard,â€ she said.
â€œThe developer is interested in art,â€ Verma said, but the mural might not relate to use project.
Howze said that â€œthis one is the hardest one to save, but the worthiest one.â€
Itâ€™s not just one big piece of metal, but eight intricate panels. Aharon Bourland designed a bold graffiti pattern in red copper that runs throughout the panels. The copper patina gives the rusty mural a rainbow-like effect.
Tony Verma and Hikari Yoshihara worked on the dripping circles and stones that appear to build in size. Â The fabrication of the mural took about a year, during which time Tom Phillips and Corey Best, CELLspace volunteers, Â helped.
Each one of the eight panels is 10 feet tall and about 3 to 4 feet wide. The central panel designed for the main entrance, which still holds the words CELLspace, is wider. There is also a narrower panel designed for a side door. Removable plywood planters were added on each of the panels.
â€œIâ€™m impressed the mural stayed for as long as it did,â€ said Verma. The only missing part in the mural so far is the L in CELLspace.
Howze said the idea of breaking the mural into pieces and handing them out as mementos was discussed among volunteers, but Verma and Howze prefer to keep it one piece.
Unique to this muralâ€™s structure is the space designed underneath each main panel â€“a space designed to be a street art gallery.
â€œIt was meant to have artwork underneath,â€ said Howze, who launched the first art show with the opening of the metal mural in March 2008. Â â€œWe had an opening with an art show, Stencilada,â€ he said.
Today, stencils can still be seen throughout the metal mural. Next door, panels of murals have been taken down and put in storage because tagging took over the artwork on the warehouse walls, said Howze.
Anyone interested in acquiring the metal mural, get in touch with Jane Verma at: Â firstname.lastname@example.org